• Rampant Fernando leads resurgent Sri Lankans

    Sri Lankan fast bowler Vishwa Fernando rampaged through the South African batting order to take 4-62 in the first Test to earn himself Wednesday’s Turbo Bowler award, writes ANITHA MADIKIZELA.

    Fernando picked up his career-best figures of 4-62 during the first Test of the two-match series against South Africa in Kingsmead, helping the Sri Lankans end the first day of the encounter on a high, following a dismal summer of Test cricket so far.

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    The left-arm quick from Colombo had a fantastic start to his fourth Test match by getting rid of both of South Africa’s openers in quick succession. He found the edge of Dean Elgar’s bat in his first over, before crashing into Aiden Markram’s stumps with a peach of a delivery to reduce the home side to 17-3 in only the eighth over.

    The paceman could have also accounted for Hashim Amla (3 off 10 balls) during his rampant opening spell, but his appeal for LBW was adjudged not out by the on-field umpire before they controversially rejected Sri Lanka’s request for a review, citing incorrectly that their 15-second time limit was up.

    The setback didn’t do Fernando much harm, as he recovered well from the disappointment and continued his charge against the home team. He returned to the attack to help clean up the tail by dismissing the swashbuckling Keshav Maharaj (29 off 35 balls, 4×4) and No 9 Kagiso Rabada (3 off 16 balls) before the Proteas were eventually bowled out for 235 in less than 60 overs.

    Fernando’s figures of 4-62 at an economy of 3.64 is his best return to date in a blossoming career, eclipsing his previous best of 3-126 achieved in Canberra during the second and final Test against Australia.

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    After losing opener Lahiru Thirimanne for a 15-ball duck, the visitors consolidated their innings well to end the day on 49-1. Sri Lanka will resume on Thursday with captain Dimuth Karunaratne (28) and Oshada Fernando (17) at the crease, with nine wickets in hand as they look to make inroads into the Proteas’ 186-run lead.


    Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images